August 19th marked the final performance of Broadway’s “End of the Rainbow,” an enchanting musical play about the last few months of Judy Garland’s life.
“It’s December 1968 and Judy Garland is poised to make a triumphant comeback… again. The drama unfolds in a London hotel room as she prepares for a series of concerts at the famed Talk of the Town nightclub. Alongside her young fiancé and trusted pianist, Garland—with her signature cocktail of talent, tenacity and razor-sharp wit—takes on her most challenging role ever: herself.” (End of the Rainbow). The role of Miss Garland is played by the flawless Tracie Bennett, who won a Drama Desk award, Outer Critics Circle award, and a Tony nomination (not to mention several Olivier awards in London).
The play, housed at the Belasco Theater, held a relatively short run (March-August, 176 total performances). However, the play began at the Syndey Opera House back in 2005, went on to London’s West End. After Broadway, “End of the Rainbow” will begin performances at the CTG/Ahmanson Theatre March 12 through April 21. A national tour is also in the works. Bennett will also star in the upcoming film adaptation of ‘End of the Rainbow'” (Ticket News).
Since “End of the Rainbow” deals with the end of Judy Garland’s life, there is not a whole lot of dancing involved. Most people know Judy Garland for her tremendous voice and whose volume and vibratto seem much too big for a woman her size. But if you look back to her countless movies with MGM and beyond, you’ll see that Judy was the ultimate triple threat. She began dancing at the Ethel Meglin studio in 1928 (where Mickey Rooney, Ann Miller, and Shirley Temple also trained), and made her film debut with the Meglin Kiddies Dance Company. She went on to dance with legends Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly to name a few.
Here are clips showcasing Garland’s dancing prowess: